As a vegetarian – one of your challenges is to find new sources for proteins.
Legumes are perfect candidates – both rich in protein and very comforting to eat.
I try to avoid canned legumes – and even frozen pre-cooked legumes. I prefer my legumes to be cooked in my chosen liquids (according to the specific recipe).
I buy dry legumes – soak them overnight – do some pre-cooking – and then freeze them in small batches – so they are ready to be used whenever I want to cook.
I know this sound like a lot of effort – but trust me – there is very small work involved – and once you have batches of different legumes ready to cook in your freezer – creating a delicious meal in a short time becomes a piece of cake. Its healthy – its even cheap – what more could you ask for ?
Here is my method (learnt from a lot of googling and cookbook reading). This method can be used for any kind of bean and chickpeas (some legumes like mung beans and lentils do not require any preparations).
Place the dry beans/chickpeas in a bowl and cover with a lot of cold water. Let them soak for at least 8 hours – preferably overnight. I usually put the bowl in the refrigerator to avoid fermentation – especially when soaking chickpeas. During the soaking time – try and replace the water a few times (I admit I don’t always do that).
After the soaking – its time for some pre-cooking that makes those legumes a little easier to digest (and helps avoid a lot of unwanted side effects).
Drain and wash the bean – place them in a large pot and cover with a lot of water. Add 1-2 bay leaves and bring gently to a boil. While heating – a lot of foam will rise to the surface – skim as much as you can with a spoon.
When water are boiling – turn of the heat – drain the beans and wash under cold water.
Then … repeat this process (boiling – draining – washing) for 2 more times. You will notice that on the last boiling process – there will be almost no foam on the surface – well done !!!
After the third boiling – drain the beans and wash them – don’t let them dry. Put them in small plastic bags (zip-locks are great) – and place in your freezer immediately.
When you want to use them – just defrost the “block” of beans under cold water – and add them to your pot. Just keep in mind they are not cooked – so make sure your recipe calls for uncooked beans – or else – fully cook them before using.